BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON, March 26 (RIA Novosti)
Both the European Union and the United States refuse to recognize as legitimate Sunday's presidential elections in South Ossetia, the EU and U.S. said in separate statements on Monday.
South Ossetia, which broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s and was recognized as an independent state by Russia and few other countries in 2008, held presidential elections on Sunday.
“In view of the reports about the elections in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia on 25 March, this statement is to recall that the European Union does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework within which these elections have taken place,” the press service for Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in a statement.
“The High Representative reiterates her support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognized by international law,” the document said.
In turn, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland issued the following statement: "The United States does not recognize the de facto elections held in the Abkhazia region of Georgia on March 24th, nor do we recognize those that were held in South Ossetia on March 25th."
"We reiterate our support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We further urge Russia to fulfill its obligations under 2008 cease-fire agreement, including the withdrawal of forces to pre-conflict positions and free access for humanitarian assistance to Abkhazia and South Ossetia," she said.
According to preliminary results, ex-chair of State Security Committee of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov won 42.48% of the March 25 vote, falling short of the 50% cut off for a first round win, while his closest rival human rights ombudsmen David Sanakoyev won 24.58%.
They will take part in the second round of elections set for April 8.
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